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The Tour Specialists Tour Blog

Oct 25

Tips For Choosing A Great Barrier Reef Tour

Posted on October 25, 2017 by

The Great Barrier Reef is a world heritage national marine park located in Far North Queensland.

It is an Australian icon that many people dream of visiting and having the opportunity to explore. However, some can get overwhelmed by the multitude of options when it comes to choosing a Great Barrier Reef tour.

Most people that travel to Far North Queensland have a Great Barrier Reef tour on the top of their ‘to do list’.

So whats the best way to find the most suitable tour?  Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect Great Barrier Reef tour for you.

Tip 1. Snorkel or dive?

When deciding whether you want to snorkel or dive, you need to consider your swimming abilities.

Less confident swimmers are better off snorkelling as they can take advantage of flotation devices to help them. Most of the Great Barrier Reef tour operators offer both snorkelling and scuba diving.

However, some cater more towards snorkelling and others cater more towards scuba diving.  While the dive operators still take snorkelers out, they tend to focus more on the scuba divers.  They will cater their information sessions and talks towards divers rather than to snorkellers.

Other companies will cater more for snorkelers than just divers.  These Great Barrier Reef tour operators will have snorkel guides that will take you around and show you things of interest.

The tour operators that cater for snorkellers  tend to provide more support for non confident swimmers such as flotation devices and ropes off the boat.

Tip 2. Island, pontoon or open water?

Great Barrier Reef tours to islands are usually to either Green Island or Fitzroy Island.

These are good options for people that don’t want to spend the whole day out on the water.  You can snorkel at both Green Island and Fitzroy Island as well as explore the beaches and Island itself.

Pontoons are a great option for those travelling with children.  They have play areas and swimming and safety gear for kids to use.  There are usually also plenty of activities for kids to get involved in on the pontoons.

Open water Great Barrier Reef tours are a good option for adults travelling that want to get away from the crowds.

The open water tours allow you to snorkel or dive straight off the back of the boat.  These tours are usually with a smaller group and allows you to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Tip 3. Wet or dry?

Yes, you can still experience the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet!  Some of the tour operators moor their boats at a pontoon.

These pontoons have a viewing deck below water that you can walk into as well as glass bottom boats and semi-submersible vessels.

Tip 4. Travelling with Kids?

If you are travelling with young children, you definitely need to select your Great Barrier Reef tour carefully! As mentioned before, tours that go to pontoons are really popular with families.

They offer plenty of shade, play areas and activities for kids.  A trip to an island is another good option.

At Green Island or Fitzroy Island, the kids can play on the beach, swim in the warm tropical water, snorkel and explore the island!


If you are planning an Australian trip to the Great Barrier Reef marine park, contact the Cairns Holiday Specialists.

Choosing a Great Barrier Reef tour doesn’t have to be difficult.  We can help you to choose the right tour and offer our friendly locals knowledge and experience with you!


Cairns Holiday Specialists 

ph 1300 761 612 or 07 4059 5959

Or international +61 7 4059 5959

Author: Christina James – Destination Specialist

Photos “Courtesy Of Tourism Tropical North Queensland”

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